The (re)launch of Rebuild Local News is nothing new. It’s welcome nevertheless.

Steven Waldman

By Dan Kennedy

Tuesday’s announcement about a new organization aimed at helping to ease the local news crisis was a bit of a head-scratcher. Here’s the lead of Sara Fischer’s story at Axios:

Local journalism groups representing more than 3,000 local newsrooms have come together to create a new nonprofit that aims to save local news through bipartisan public policy initiatives.

The organization, Fischer continued, is being called the Rebuild Local News Coalition.

Well … OK. Except that the organization has been around for a few years. Way back in July 2021 I quoted Steven Waldman and noted that he was the co-founder of the coalition. Its main policy goals — tax credits aimed at boosting subscriptions and advertising as well as giving publishers incentives to hire and retain journalists — are also nothing new. That’s the Local Journalism Sustainability Act, or LJSA, a federal bill that kicked around for several years before dying at the end of the last Congress. With the House now controlled by press-hating right-wing Republicans, we are not likely to see it resurrected anytime soon.

But if the coalition wants to relaunch and call new attention to its work, so be it. According to this announcement, Waldman is taking a more prominent position — he’ll now be the full-time president, and he’s cutting back on his work at Report for America, which he also cofounded. The coalition has also reorganized as an independent nonprofit.

Ellen Clegg and I talked with Waldman about the Rebuild Local News Coalition and the LJSA on the “What Works” podcast in mid-2022. You can listen to it here, and subscribe wherever you get your podcasts.

Author: Dan Kennedy

I am a professor of journalism at Northeastern University and a contributor to GBH News in Boston. My blog, Media Nation, is online at dankennedy.net.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: